Review: Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron 2
Posted 12 Dec 2002 at 20:31 by Franklin
When a new console launches it needs at least one major game. A game that would push the machine to its limits, and a game that would make buyers say to themselves "yes I would buy this console just to play this game." Star Wars: Rogue Leader became that game for the launch of the Nintendo Gamecube. A new Star Wars game that was only available to the Gamecube, rave reviews in the US, and of course being released around the time Episode 2 hit the cinemas, all helped build the antcipation. Gamers knew that this was going to be one of those special titles - And it never dissapointed.
Visually this game is just unbelievable, what more can be said. No small detail was excluded, all the ships are incredibly detailed right down to dented panels. This is a game that looks just like the movies, in fact it looks even better than the movies. The first time you play and you're thrown into your first mission, your jaw will hit the floor once you see the amazing visuals of the death star surface and in the death star trench itself. But that first level is just a warm-up for things to come.
On the Raid on Bespin level when you reach the actual Cloud City, you will not believe how great it looks - a tangle of pipes, trenches, and buildings all detailed and rendered to absolute perfection. Or how about the in-space dogfights, the best of which would be the Battle of Endor level where you'll be faced with an endless number of Ties to take out. Just how did they manage to have all those Ties as well as rebel ships and a number of rebel mother ships and then two Star Destroyers all interacting at once with no slow down!
This game is most definatly an amazing showcase for the GameCube 's pure graphical power. And even better these great visuals can also be displayed in 60Hz mode on compatible TV for an even clearer picture.
If you love the classic John Williams' Star Wars soundtrack then you won't be disappointed. All the familiar music from the films will be blasted out of your TV, as well as some original music to help add to the tension of the gameplay and missions. Too put the icing on the cake, all of this is capable of running in Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound, to give that extra feel of being in the game or even in the movies. Most of the voices are lifted right out of the original trilogy. I'm sure the die hard Star Wars fans out there will have no problems spotting them, because when you hear them you'll say to yourself, "Man this is just like the films." There are also new voices provided by LucasArts' own voice actors. But best of all for fans of Star Wars is that Dennis Lawson, the original Wedge Antilles provides the voice for Wedge :)
Those of you who played Rogue Squadron on the N64 and loved its mission based game play, completing objectives and honing your skills as a pilot will be well pleased that the same winning formula is retained in Rogue Leader. There is only one mode on which to play on, the main story game. There is no multi-player mode, maybe even a two player co-operative would have added to the game some more, but sadly this is a game that you will just have to enjoy one person at a time.
There are ten basic levels to complete and five hidden bonus levels that are unlocked by gaining medals in the basic missions. At the end of each level you are graded on your accuracy, enemies destroyed, time, etc. and if you complete the mission within the set limits you will earn either a bronze, sliver or gold medal. Each medal gives you a certain amount of points, then by building up enough points you can unlock bonus missions. However, this is far easier said than done, and in some levels you'll probably have to try again and again just to get a bronze medal. Each level has a number of objectives that must be completed and with just one failed task you'll have to start all over. From time to time this can become quite frustrating.
In the heat of battle beginners may find it hard to keep up with the fast moving tie fighters, but the AI seems to be very well designed, adding that extra need to develop your skills. There are a number of ships that you will get the chance to take control of, all of which you should be familiar with if you've seen the classic trilogy. Each will handle slightly different -- some move faster, some are slower, weaponry etc. -- all have attributes suitable for certain situations and you'll even have to change ships in the middle of some missions to get the job done.
An interesting addition to this game is the commands feature, which allows you to give instructions to your squadron. Depending on which mission, you can order them to help you take out enemy fighters, draw fire away from your ship, or even tell them to flee. More often then not though, your team mates won't seem very helpful, however occasionally you will see them shoot down the odd enemy or two.
Controlling the ships will take some time to get used to. Learning to move your ship up, down left, right is easy. However once you're thrown in the thick of an intense dogfight it all of a sudden becomes a lot more complicated! Dodging enemy fire, and weaving past obstacles becomes quite a challenge, but in no time you'll find yourself kicking some Imperial butt all over the galaxy. Rotating the camera works well with the C-Stick, and allows you to see what is around you. Controlling speed with the analogue shoulder button also takes time to get used to, but is a great feature of the games control system.
This is a hard game, and it will take you a lot of time to complete if you hope to collect all the gold medals in the game and find all the tech upgrades. In later levels you may find it tough controlling your wingmen and shooting accurately, but that shouldn't put you off this brilliant game. Definitely one fans of the films will play for ages. For those of you who didn't like the films, this game could be a hit or miss.
N-Europe Final Verdict
This game is just amazing in my view, all fans of Star Wars will enjoy this game.
Great film replication